Ok, so here’s the tutorial, as promised. But first, the disclaimer:

As I said yesterday, this is just my rendition of the method. It’s sort of like when I decided to make socks; I picked up my needles and “invented” a short row heel based on how it looked like it should be done, having never actually seen anyone do it or read instructions on how to go about it. I didn’t know all the fancy tricks with wraps and turns, but managed to produce a pretty good replica. In this case, I found a couple of pictures on the internet, and just went from there with what seemed logical. Susanna is teaching all kinds of classes in the Seattle area this winter and spring, and I’m hoping to catch up with her one of these days to learn the fancy tricks. I suggest you do, too, if you ever have the chance. Or, you could get your hands on that Piece work magazine article. Until then, here’s how I’m weaving-knitting:

First, get your yarn in order. For each color stripe, you need one strand. I wanted mine to be plenty long, so I wrapped them all around a dowel, in the order that I’d need them.

Then, put a tack in one end of the dowel and tie some scrap yarn around it.

Stick another tack in the other end. Tie a loop in the scrap yarn, and pull it over the second tack.

Now, your strings can be dangled without the dowel rolling away and unwinding all of the yarn.

Begin your cuff. When you’re ready to start the weaving bit, pick up the first color and knit 2 stitches. Repeat for each color, until they’re all attached.

Knit around in the base color until 1 stitch before the first color stitch in the previous row. (You want the color pattern to shift one stitch to the right to create the diamond shape.)

This is the only tricky part, and it will only be tricky the first time you try it. Turn the knitting once to untwist the color strands (or, dangle the dowel, if you prefer to untwist the yarn that way). Your base yarn (white, in my case) is probably now beneath the color strands, and we need it on top.

Grab the base yarn, and pull it around the needles so that it lays on top of the color strands.

It should now look like this:

Now, pick up your first color strand from underneath the base strand.

Knit two.

Drop yarn, pick up second color, knit two again.

Repeat for each color, making sure to keep the base color on top, and effectively wrapping the color strands around it when you knit. (See how it’s like weaving?)

I also inserted a couple of stitches of base color in the center to help with stability. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but we’ll talk more about that in a minute. When you get to the center of the design, you’ll need to mirror your color pattern, so knit up to and including the first color stitch from the previous row before switching back to your color strands. This effectively shifts the second half of the color pattern over one stitch to the left, and makes the mirrored diamond shape.

When you get to the end of the color segment, the float of your base yarn will now be held down by all the color strands that you wrapped around it as you knit.

All of the examples I’ve seen have the colors offset by one stitch in each row. I think that this is to keep from having an awkward join between the base yarn and the color strands. You never wrap the strands in this technique like you would in intarsia, so a straight border might not be very stable. As you work the pattern, you’ll see that the yarn pulls itself tight when you pick it up in the next row to work again. It ends up sort of zigzagging up the back, because you always start knitting with a strand 3 stitches before the place where you dropped it in the last row. (This is another thing that I think will make perfect sense with needles in your hands, but sounds like gobbledy-gook when written.)

In a few rows, you’ll have this:

The only problem I ran into occurred when I brought the two blue color segments together in the first repeat (you’ll note I skipped that in the second repeat). Why? Because it did this:

I read somewhere that you’re supposed to knit through the back loop for stitches leaning in one direction (don’t remember which). This might solve the problem, but I haven’t tried it yet. The problem doesn’t arise as long as you keep a couple of stitches of base color in the middle of the pattern. I think just one would do it, and I’m sure there’s a way around the issue.

And, look at that reverse side! See what I mean about zig zagging?

Isn’t that fun?

It was super easy to keep tension with this method, and it makes a really nice, cushy fabric through the color pattern section.

Of course, like Tsarina, I am fascinated by the things you could do with this base idea. I don’t think I’m up to change-ringing patterns just yet (though I’m sorely tempted), but my sketch pad is filling up with all kinds of cable-inspired designs that I think should work.

Now, if I can just get around that little problem with the hole…

For the moment, I’ve frogged and re-started the practice project, and am heading for a pair of mitts, once the farmers’ mitts are done. I think this moves really fast, once you get the hang of it. I’ve found that keeping a tiny bit of tension on the color strands helps speed up the process of picking them up to knit, so I just lay the dowel across my ankles while I knit to keep those strands straight.

So, there it is. Delightfully simple, isn’t it?